Je Reste Photographe - A Documentary Film in Abidjan Côte d’Ivoire

In October 2022, Photographer @ananiaslekidago invited me to see his first documentary film in Abidjan Côte d’Ivoire. 

The invitation on my end seemed far-fetched to commit to since I had been signed off work for a year and was slowly returning to freelance work commitments and deciding on how I would progress on a personal level. 

I recently completed a commission for @foundlingmuseum in July 2022 and became a member of a-n Information Company to cover my liability insurance. As a member, I successfully applied for a-n, Artist Bursary, which aided my trip. It was a surprise to see a photograph of Mark Sealy, director of @autographabp in the movie, from a work trip he would have taken back in the early 1990s from the Bamako Photo Festival in Mali. Another well-known Nigerian Curator (the late) Bisi Silva, also appears in the movie; I was fortunate to have met her early in my career, in the early 2000s. Bisi Silva left an extraordinary legacy in her native country, the Centre for Contemporary Art, Lagos. 

I sent a message to Mark Sealy while I was away advising that he appeared in the movie, and he was curious to know more. Now, the film is being shown in London next month at the Barbican thanks to Mark organising the event with Matthew Barrington (Cinema Curator @barbiancentre) and Ananias. I am thrilled that I took a leap of faith and went to Abidjan. It was a short trip, rather intense at times. But it was worth seeing the movie’s Premier on African soil, and it is fantastic that it will now be screened here in London. 

If you can come to the screening on Thursday, 4th May 2023, I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did… it’s a wonderful documentary about the life of the late Photographer @paulkodjo_archives and his relationship with @ananiaslekidago. Interwoven is a history of African Photography through Ananias’ experience as photographer, curator and founder of @lrencontresdusud, which led to him having the skills and knowledge to preserve Kodjo’s archival legacy. We are given insight into the many talents of Paul Kodjo, which would have been lost if not for their paths crossing over several decades and Ananias diligently keeping in touch with Kodjo. We also see how important it is for generations to come together to share their knowledge; the rapper KRS so eloquently explains this with @JazzysWorldTV. 

The photographic history of Côte d’Ivoire through Kodjo’s eyes and his time spent in Europe is of great importance, and having a movie made about him. At the same time, the fact that he was still alive is a testament to Ananias. Being invited to see this film was the lift I needed to start moving again, slowly but surely, to appreciate the photographic archive I hold, being reminded of those that have come before me and the younger generation of photographers who are rising up. As Ananias reminded me before I departed back to London. 

A quote from a Bob Marley lyric… “…Don’t give up the fight…” What I have taken from these words and the movie is that the connections we make, great and small, have an impact. At times, we all need a helping hand to get us to the next stage in our life journey, and it can come from many different sources. Here I am reminded of – “Where there is a will, there’s a way”! 

 © Eileen Perrier April 2023

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